Ahead of a press conference providing details of his plan on Saturday, President Donald Trump confirmed that he would be bypassing Congress and issuing an executive order to provide some forms of economic relief for those impacted by the coronavirus, as reported by Fox News.
His comments came earlier in the week as Trump gave Congress a Friday deadline to reach an agreement on the terms of a fifth coronavirus relief bill.
“Everything gets sued”
Among the specifics he previewed in the remarks was a retroactive deferral of payroll taxes from July 1 to the end of this year. He also expressed an intent to extend federal unemployment and defer student loans, forgiving interest on them until further notice.
According to Trump, his attorneys were in the process of drawing up the order and “it could be by the end of the week” that it is signed into effect.
Noting the likely legal obstacles he will face in attempting to circumvent Congress’ power to allocate federal money, he said he would “probably” get sued. He brushed off the possibility, though, asserting that “everything gets sued.”
As for his rationale behind the specific items in the planned order, Trump has previously pushed for a plan that would allow Americans to keep federal payroll taxes. The 7.47% currently withheld from payroll checks is used to fund Social Security and Medicare.
In short-term impact, the average American making $55,000 per year would see around $300 per month in his or her paychecks under such a temporary revision.
“We’ve had it”
Trump had previously agreed to drop the issue during negotiations with Democrats when it became clear that party leaders were adamantly against it, as reported by Fox News.
“Based on that I told Republicans, I said I think a payroll tax would be good, but we’re not going to get it from Democrats,” he said during a recent news briefing. “So you still need Democrat votes. I would like to see it but if we’re not going to get their votes, I guess we have to go on to the next thing.”
He followed up with Saturday’s press conference in which revealed his plan to, among other things, extend additional unemployment benefits at a reduced rate after the provision expired last month.
“I’m taking executive action,” he said. “We’ve had it.”
As he acknowledged, the Trump administration is likely to face legal challenges to the latest executive action. To many Americans struggling to make their way through the continuing coronavirus pandemic, however, it is sure to come as some evidence that the president wants to see action on their behalf.